For 33 years, Paul Shaffer served as David Letterman’s music director and sidekick. Shaffer began his career in 1972 as music director of the Toronto production of Godspell. He played ...
For 33 years, Paul Shaffer served as David Letterman’s music director and sidekick. Shaffer began his career in 1972 as music director of the Toronto production of Godspell. He played piano in The Magic Show on Broadway in 1974, then spent the next five years with Saturday Night Live, where he played keyboards, composed special musical material, and—in 1980—became a featured performer. He also served as music director for the Blues Brothers (John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd), including their triple-platinum album and national tour. Later this month, he has a three-week residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Shaffer’s guest starring television appearances include Ed, The Sopranos, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Schitt’s Creek, and How I Met Your Mother. He recently starred with Bill Murray in the Netflix special A Very Murray Christmas, directed by Sofia Coppola and for which he also served as music director, earning him his fourth Emmy nomination.
In addition to his own albums, Shaffer has recorded with such diverse artists as Diana Ross, Yoko Ono, and Robert Plant’s Honeydrippers. He also composed the ’80s dance hit “It’s Raining Men” with Paul Jabara. In 2002, Shaffer received his first Grammy Award in recognition of his work on Earl Scruggs and Friends. That year, he also co-produced an avant-garde jazz album for his mentor, Tisziji Muñoz. His latest album, Paul Shaffer & The World’s Most Dangerous Band, features special guests Bill Murray, Darius Rucker, Jenny Lewis, Dion, Shaggy, and Valerie Simpson.
Paul Shaffer’s Day in Rock is a daily interstitial feature that is nationally syndicated by Envision Radio. He is author of the best-selling memoir We’ll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives.
Shaffer holds two honorary doctorates, was inducted into the National Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame, and awarded a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. In 2008, he received the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor.